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In Bed With the Devil (Scoundrels of St. James Book 1) Kindle Edition
They call him the Devil Earl—a scoundrel and accused murderer who grew up on the violent London streets. A proper young lady risks more than her reputation when consorting with the roguishly handsome Lucian Langdon, but Lady Catherine Mabry believes she has no choice. To protect those she loves, she would do anything—even strike a bargain with the devil himself.
Lucian desires respectability and a wife above all else, but the woman of his choosing lacks the social graces to be accepted by the aristocracy. Catherine can help Lucian gain everything he wants. But what she asks for in exchange will put their very lives in jeopardy. When danger closes in, Catherine discovers a man of immense passion and he discovers a woman of immeasurable courage. As secrets from his dark past are revealed, Lucian begins to question everything he knows to be true, including the yearnings of his own heart.
About the Author
When multiple New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath received her BA degree in psychology from the University of Texas, she had no idea she had gained a foundation that would help her create believable characters—characters often described as “real people.” The daughter of a British beauty and a Texan stationed at RAF Bovingdon, Lorraine was born in England but soon after moved to Texas. Her dual nationality has given her a love for all things British and Texan, and she enjoys weaving both heritages through her stories.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B00139XTAK
- Publisher : HarperCollins e-books (October 6, 2009)
- Publication date : October 6, 2009
- Language : English
- File size : 452 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 383 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #157,210 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Lucian -- Luke -- grew up on the streets, living with a band of orphans. He had no memory before another boy, Jack Dodger, rescued him. Luke finds an unexpected passion and love with Lady Catherine.
Secrets come out, changing lives.
I think this will rank as one of my favorite Lorraine Heath romances.
In a nutshell, highbred Lady Catherine takes note of the Devil Earl when she's in her first season... and never forgets him. Scandalously, she holds his gaze without looking away, and therefore, he never forgets her, and she never forgets him. Years go by and Catherine maintains a fascination with the Devil Earl from afar. She even invites him to events... but he never shows face. Soon, however, she finds herself in need of a Devil. Her friend is being abused by her husband, and something must be done about it.
Meanwhile, the Devil Earl, Lucian, is a man caught between two worlds and mentally tortured without mercy because of it. He was raised in the gutter, committed murder, and is set to hang. The father of his murder victim comes to confront him and recognizes him as his long-last grandson. They convinced each other this is true and so the vagrant is raised as an heir and a gentleman, along with some of his gutter rat friends. Eventually he becomes earl, but of course the ton won't recognize him socially because of his scandalous past.
Due to his reputation (and I'm sure because she wants an excuse to visit him) Lady Catherine approaches the Devil Earl for a favor. She wants her friend's abusive husband "done away with" (murdered). Strangely, the Earl accepts IF, in exchange, Catherine teaches his friend how to be a lady so he can propose to her successfully. An interesting premise to be sure.
There were some issues I had with this plot. First of all, I found it REALLY hard to believe that the so-called "Devil" Earl would murder a man
1) and face the noose again?
2) and risk his future marriage which matters so much to him?
3) and disgrace the honor of the man (his grandfather) who saved his life?
4) without knowing WHY.
5) without knowing WHO.
6) for a chit he barely knows.
7) and actually think their "bargain" (turning his friend into a proper lady) is worth murder. (UM, hello, HIRE a finishing governess?)
Besides that huge logic flaw... there were other logic issues with the novel as well.
For example, Catherine dreamily asks her friend what it's like when her husband kisses her. But, er, this is the friend whose husband is abusing her and whom Catherine has just, um, hired Lucian to murder. Wa-what? Seriously? Wth?
Lady Catherine, dreamy: "Pray tell, friend, do your knees grow weak when the monster kisses you?"
Abused friend, blushing: "Oh, yes, darling... he rocks my world... except for when he thrashes me about and frightens the, ahem, Dickens out of me."
Lady Catherine, chastised: "Never mind all that, what a scoundrel. I've just taken out a hit on him..."
Abused friend: "Oh, Catherine, he's my HUSBAND. How very naughty of you."
Lady Catherine, smug: "Well, as soon as I've trained the hitman's vagrant girlfriend to host a tea party it shall be done... shouldn't be long now. Luckily I'm the best hostess in town. Never fret, darling, we shall get that scoundrel murdered."
SIGHS. That's basically how I interpreted it. Just silly. Like it's a great idea in theory but it just wasn't developed right. Or enough for me to take it seriously. Because everything in the story was so LIGHT, fluffy and vanilla despite the fact that it deals with murder, betrayal, abuse, abandonment and even rape. The author gave me no place to stand while reading it. I kept flipping the pages but was left feeling confused and irritated.
After all this poking fun, you might wonder why I gave them novel three stars period. Well, despite the logic flaws in this novel... the chemistry between the hero and heroine was outright sizzling. I looooved seeing vanilla, sunshine Catherine posed against the dark and brooding Devil Earl. And I did love the obvious tension between them and the reasons the Earl fights his desire for her. (His stubborn resistance to Catherine's love did last one beat too long, for my taste though.) I also loved the daring midnight excursions the two go on... and even the friendship they form before they fall in love. Despite the pragmatic issues in the story line, the author didn't miss a beat in developing their relationship. They learn about each other by talking and communicating, which is actually rare in historic romance. Their attraction is at first sight... but their love grows by experience and time spent together. I really enjoyed that.
So IF you can throw logic out the window and just enjoy mindlessly as popcorn entertainment, then there is something exquisite to take away.
Now all grown up, Luke lives an intensely lonely and alcohol-fueled existence, plagued by debilitating headaches. He is snubbed by the aristocracy, who doubt the legitimacy of his claim the earldom he has now inherited, but he is also set apart from his childhood friends, who treat him differently now that he is one of the aristocracy. He longs to marry Frannie, but she is afraid to accept his suit because the world he inhabits is so foreign and intimidating to her.
Enter the Lady Catherine Mabry, who has heard of "the Devil Earl's" reputation for murder, and believes he is the only man who can help her save her best friend from her husband, an abusive brute whose two prior wives died under suspicious circumstances. She attempts to engage Luke's services for the contract killing (though Catherine will not, at first, reveal the target of her murder plot). Luke, with some reservations, agrees so long as Catherine will teach Frannie what she needs to know to feel comfortable as his countess.
Thus we have two of my least favorite plot devices: amnesia (Luke's suspiciously missing childhood memories), and the I'll-help-you-win-another-though-it's-obvious-you-should-be-with-me trope (is there a better name for that?). The latter is especially frustrating because it creates so many tetchy moral issues: whenever Luke kisses Catherine, he betrays Frannie, yet his growing attraction to Catherine is so strong and so obvious that his advances to Frannie feel wrong, too. Thankfully, the reader understands long before Luke does that Frannie's feelings for him are platonic, and the only reason she hasn't rejected his suit is that she doesn't want to hurt his feelings -- which makes the dilemma only slightly more palatable. (After all, Luke doesn't know Frannie doesn't want him, so as far as he knows, he's being unfaithful.)
Even so, I like this book -- and this series -- fairly well. It's nice to escape the endless social whirl and stifling tearooms and ballrooms so common in historical romance, and read about characters less concerned with their reputations and with making good marriages. Luke, Frannie, and the rest of the now-grown Gang of Thieves had a background far removed from the ton, which makes their stories more interesting than the usual Regency fare.
Top reviews from other countries
The writing was poor, the wording not historically accurate at all, and it also changes mid chapter from third person narrative with, 'Luke placed his glass on the table' to first person with Luke thinking "I understood sacrifice then".
The other big issue was how Luke said he would "Question Avendale and his answers to those questions would depend on how Luke dealt with him". Avendale had just viciously raped and beaten his wife, no answers would make that okay. It made it sound like if Anvendale's answers were good ones, that they would make it okay that he raped and beat her.
I know the author probably didn't mean that but the problem was the writing was so poor it made it sound that way. The whole book was just too boring. £3 and hours wasted on this not well written and extremely boring book.
Well written and some difficult subjects are covered in this book in reference to Catherine's friend Winnie. What was portrayed in reference to Winnie's marriage is correct for the time with some marriages. Husband's had the right to do what they liked to their wives. Thankfully times have changed and if anyone man or woman suffers such abuses get out and seek help. Heath did well with this subject and I liked that he got what he deserved although I don't know if it would have happened in reality. I like the tying in with Oliver Twist both with the characters names and the book actually coming up as something read. Looking forward to Jack's story next.